The denim jacket: A smart style icon
The denim jacket is back as being the must-have wardrobe staple although for many of us, the denim jacket that “goes-with-anything”, never left our hanging rail.
But Levi’s Commuter jacket, set for release this autumn is stylish as it is smart – like smartphone smart. Basically, it is a wearable remote, an item of clothing that keeps you connected at all times. Better still Levi’s have done all this without it looking space age – you know, all 80s style – without a hint of tinfoil in sight. It looks and feels like an ordinary jacket but what features are Levi’s teasing us with?
The jacket has a cuff with touch-enabled fabric along with Bluetooth connection to your phone, so staying in touch is completely effortless, along with answering calls.
For bikers, it means easier access to music and phone controls, although law enforcement agencies would probably still rather you pulled over to change track or to take a call. How these types of clothing items with smart connections and controls are yet to be viewed in this way, is yet to be seen. Imagine, however, walking to work and being able to talk to the office without rooting through your bag or checking your pockets for your phone.
Collaboration at its best
Key players in the technological and digital world are not always known for collaboration – just look at the Google Home and Amazon Echo etc for separate ideas born from no collaboration and you can see what we mean – but the Commuter jacket is different. It is a product of a collaborative project between Google and Levi’s.
Known as Project Jacquard, it was a project announcement around two years ago at Google I/O, the annual developer’s conference held in San Francisco. It has taken time but the innovation is there. Weaving conductive materials directly into fabric makes it a gesture-aware surface. In other words, the jacket has the same abilities as the touchpad on your laptop or the responsive screen on your tablet.
Connecting your denim jacket to your tablet or phone screen means you can access what you need to, without staggering along the pavement blindly.
Not the first
Levi’s Commuter jacket is smart and stylish. It is pushing the boundaries of technology, manufacturing techniques and the age of connectivity but it is not the first smart jacket. Burtons created a ski jacket that had external iPod controls, ideal for controlling your music whilst you took to the piste.
But it is an overly simplistic comparison because the Commuter jacket is not just about buttons. It is about the fabric that can read our fingertips. If this does work and works well, who knows what could be next?
And how much will this jacket set you back? A not unreasonable £285 but you wouldn’t want to leave it behind in the pub.
The editorial unit